I have failed in permanently suspending cocoa powder into water. I have tried heat (212'f) and pressure (40 psi) into a sugar water solution (50/50). Also, powdered milk and evaporated milk have failed to yield a permanent suspension. There was another method of Irish moss to coagulate the whole thing together, but that failed as well. I need the bonding/ emulsifying agent to be edible, delicious and shelf stable. I am a low level cook and do not have the chemistry knowledge to do this myself.

Thank you for reading.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you want a liquid, or something as thick as custard? $\endgroup$ – LDC3 May 31 '14 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ liquid and delicious please $\endgroup$ – applyheat May 31 '14 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ You are doing something strange, then. Heat is perfectly adequate. Cocoa powder is mostly starch, and it cooks up like any other custard. The fat remains smoothly suspended in it. No need for emulsifiers. $\endgroup$ – rumtscho Oct 13 '14 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Might be interesting to ask on cooking as well $\endgroup$ – user2813274 Dec 18 '14 at 5:28

Sounds like you need a food-grade surfactant. Maybe you could try lecithin?

The problem is that cocoa powder is mostly made of stuff that is not soluble in water (hydrophobic). So, to create the emulsion, you will need to "package" the powder molecules in something they are soluble in. You could either use a surfactant directly, or build up in layers using fat molecules and proteins, with a surfactant around the whole package.

Lecithin would be a good starting choice since it is FDA approved and used in lots of products already.

I would try this:

  1. Add lecithin in gradually larger amounts until the suspension worked (you will have to try different heat/pressure and emulsification treatments - consider high-pressure homogenization as well.)
  2. Add some whole milk (we are looking for the fat molecules and proteins) and see if you can find an acceptable milk/lecithin ratio that tasted good and that was still stable.

If that doesn't work, your other option is to modify the cocoa powder granule surface so that it is hydrophilic. That means you will need to add polar functional groups. One way to do that is with an acid (citric, for example), but you will add a sour taste which might be hard to get rid of. There is a patent for an approach using enzymes, but I don't know which one they used (it just refers to "starch degrading," "protein degrading," and "cell-wall degrading" enzymes), or how well it works.

  • $\begingroup$ Tataric acid (cream of tatar) can be used. I will give this as my next shot. Would I need the tartaric acid as the emulsifying agent for the evaporated milk? Instead of whole milk, evaporated milk was substituted for shelf stability. <br/> I have tried heat and pressure to force the molecules together. 212'f is as hot as the water gets for some reason! (cook jokes) 40 psi was used and the cocoa powder dropped out of the solution within minutes. Would I use lecithin along with the heat and pressure? <br/> Sorry if I am misunderstanding what you are trying to convey. $\endgroup$ – applyheat Jun 3 '14 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Tartaric acid may or may not work. If it reacts at the surface of the powder and leaves hydrophilic groups exposed, then it will work. The reason I suggested whole milk is that you want to get some fat molecules in there to help with the emulsification. It might not be necessary, but it would likely help. Pressure may or may not help - I don't know much about food chemistry specifically, I am speaking from a general solubility-of-proteins point of view. This link describes some ways of using lecithin you could try first. $\endgroup$ – thomij Jun 3 '14 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ Great information from the article! These are stabilizers and will not act as an emulsifying agent. I need to suspend it first before stabilizing the solution. $\endgroup$ – applyheat Jun 3 '14 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ I am thinking it would act as both, but I don't have enough knowledge to tell you for sure. $\endgroup$ – thomij Jun 4 '14 at 1:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.